Need to know
- We reviewed two Kmart espresso machines in our latest round of testing: a $95 manual machine and a $119 Anko semi-automatic machine
- Kmart's $119 coffee machine is uncannily similar to a $279 machine from a well-known brand that received the same scores for a number of tests
- We review a wide range of coffee machines at different price points to help you find the best one that suits your needs and budget
Coffee is serious business and if you've decided to invest in a coffee machine for your own home, you may be swayed by a cheap option from the Kmart Anko range.
The bargain retailer currently sells two coffee machines:
- The manual Kmart Anko Espresso Machine CM5400D-SA ($95)
- The semi-automatic Kmart Anko Espresso Machine CM5418CB-SA ($119)
We put Kmart's $119 semi-automatic espresso machine to the test in our recent coffee machine reviews and our experts noticed it bore a striking resemblance to another machine that costs more than twice as much. Although the Kmart model is the second cheapest manual machine we reviewed, it performed quite well in a number of our tests, but our experts had some criticisms.
We also assessed the $95 CM5400D-SA manual machine but our experts found it quite disappointing overall.
Historically Kmart machines haven't stacked up too well compared with many other rival modelsCHOICE kitchen expert Kim Gilmour
"Coffee machines, particularly manual espresso machines, can be a serious investment, so it's natural to be tempted by Kmart's cheap coffee machines. says CHOICE kitchen expert Kim Gilmour. But they have their pros and cons, and historically Kmart machines haven't stacked up too well compared with many other rival models," she says.
"If you're on a limited budget, you may be considering buying from Kmart, but before you do, do your research by reading our coffee machine reviews to find the best option for you."
Read on for an in-depth analysis of how each model performed, plus we compare the Kmart semi-automatic machine with its pricier Sunbeam doppelgänger to see how they compare.
How do Kmart Anko coffee machines perform in our testing?
Our expert coffee machine testers assess a wide variety of espresso machines in our labs, ranging from cheap Aldi pod machines all the way through to $4000+ fully automatic machines with digital displays.
Kmart machines are generally among the cheapest semi-automatic and manual machines that come through our labs, but how do they compare with other models?
Priced at $95, the Kmart manual machine is a bargain but failed to impress our experts.
Kmart Anko Espresso Machine CM5400D-SA
- Type: Manual
- Price: $95
The cheapest manual machine we tested, this Kmart model costs just a little more than a basic pod machine, so it definitely ticks the budget box. But sadly, you get what you pay. This model received a score of just 60% for the taste test and milk frothing, and a disappointing 64% overall.
Our experts also found that it's quite light so you need to hold it down when you're moving the group handle to stop it moving around on the bench.
It's also light on accessories: it doesn't come with a milk jug, and the plastic tamper it comes with is flimsy and doesn't fit snugly into the group head.
It can leave you with an espresso that's depresso
This means you can't tamp (press) the coffee down well into the basket, which affects the way the hot water flows through the ground coffee and can leave you with an espresso that's depresso.
However, it did receive an excellent score for coffee temperature consistency – which means that you'll get pretty ordinary coffees from it, but at least they'll be the same temperature each time. Find out how this Kmart coffee machine compares with other brands in our coffee machine reviews.
All the details are available to our members – consider becoming a CHOICE member to access our expert reviews.
The $119 machine outperformed some more expensive models in our testing.
Kmart Anko CM5418CB-SA espresso machine
- Type: Semi-automatic
- Price: $119
At just $119, this model is the second cheapest machine of its type in our current review. And while it has its limitations, it did outperform other machines in certain aspects of our testing – even some that are far more expensive.
The $649 DeLonghi La Specialista Arte EC9155.MB for instance, performed worse than the Kmart machine on our taste test. The exxy competitor was rated as just 'OK' for taste, while the experts rated the Kmart as 'Good'. That's a big win for a little machine that costs a fraction of the DeLonghi model!
The DeLonghi does come with more features and accessories, plus a built-in grinder, and is made from higher-quality materials. Plus it comes with a two-year warranty while Kmart only offers one year on its coffee machines. We could easily find parts for repair of the DeLonghi, but couldn't easily find any for the Anko.
While it has its limitations, it did outperform other machines in some of of our testing – even some that are far more expensive
Espresso taste is just one of the aspects we look at when we give each coffee machine a CHOICE Expert Rating, and this machine does have some drawbacks in other areas.
Like its cheaper counterpart, it's quite light so it's prone to moving when you're using the group handle, and it comes with a similarly cheap and ineffective tamper. It also doesn't come with a milk jug, so you'll need to buy one before you start brewing. (They aren't expensive, but you'd be disappointed to unpack your shiny new machine and find that you can't use it straight away!)
One of our testers' biggest bugbears with it is the way the steam wand is designed. You can't direct it into the drip tray to clear it, which means that you'll need a separate container to catch the drips. It sort of defeats the purpose of having a drip tray in the first place!
However, it does have some nice extra features that you might not expect on such a cheap machine: a pressure gauge, drip tray full indicator and a two-cup portafilter, so you can easily make double shots or whip up a coffee for your plus-one at the same time as yours.
But perhaps the most interesting thing about this $119 machine is its similarity to a more expensive machine. We'll explain.
These machines look very similar, except for some details and accessories – and of course the price tag.
The Kmart coffee machine that's almost identical to a $279 Sunbeam
Our expert coffee machine testers see dozens of coffee machines pass through our labs each year. You can imagine that after a while, the machines all start to look pretty much the same – but this year two machines made our testers do a double-take.
If you didn't see the branding, you could be forgiven for confusing the $119 Kmart machine with the $279 Sunbeam Compact Barista EMM2900SS: except for a few details and accessories, these two machines are remarkably similar.
The body of the two machines is almost identical, from the shape of the dial on the side through to the drip tray and the water reservoir.
They're so similar, in fact, that they have exactly the same dimensions, capacity and pump pressure.
Spot the difference: The Kmart on the left is uncannily similar to the Sunbeam on the right.
The key differences (aside from the branding) are the steam wand's nozzle and shape, the group handle, and the addition of the pressure gauge on the front of the Kmart machine. The Sunbeam machine also comes with a stainless steel milk jug.
They both come with the same flimsy plastic tamper, and despite the differences in their steam wands, neither can be cleared or sprayed into the drip tray, which makes cleaning messy.
The two machines come with similar accessories, but the Sunbeam comes with a milk jug.
But appearance isn't everything – performance is key, right? Well, this is where things start to get downright eerie: the two machines received exactly the same scores on most of our tests.
Taste test, ease of use, coffee temperature consistency: All. Exactly. The. Same.
The only metric where they scored differently was milk frothing – the Sunbeam scored three percentage points higher than the Kmart, which makes sense given the differences between the steam wands.
We can't say for certain that the machines are exactly the same, but the similarities in appearance and performance definitely had our experts wondering.
All of this begs the question – is a stainless steel jug and some slightly smoother milk really worth a $160 price difference? We'll let you be the judge of that, but we highly recommend you check our coffee machine review before you buy to see how these machines compare with others in the same price range.
Other Kmart coffee machines
In the past, we've also tested several other Kmart coffee machines, including a pod machine and semi-automatic machine. None of them performed especially well, and our experts didn't recommend any of them.
Kmart's previous manual coffee machine did perform reasonably well on the taste test, scoring 70% – which was a higher score than a $949 competitor. Not bad for a machine priced at just $89!
However, it failed to impress in our other tests and only scored 68% overall so it wasn't recommended by our experts.
In short, Kmart's machines can be hit and miss, so make sure you check our detailed coffee machine reviews before you hit the store to make sure you're picking up the best possible machine for your needs and budget.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.